WHEN Wes Anderson is good he’s very good, and when he’s occasionally off-key the Texan writer-director still puts other film-makers in the shade.

The Grand Budapest Hotel is a tour de force of invention and creativity which leaves no narrative stone unturned in its quest for laughs and heartfelt emotion.

Anderson is in sparkling form, tracing the history of the titular establishment from 1932 to the present through the eyes of two lovers who become embroiled in a madcap crime caper involving a stolen painting.

Anderson marshals an incredible cast, including regular collaborators Owen Wilson, Jason Schwartzman and Bill Murray, while an uproarious and energetic Ralph Fiennes is the suave protagonist at the centre of the mystery.

Clients, especially older women, are putty in Gustave’s well-manicured hands, and he lavishes them with affection, including ageing matriarch Madame D (Tilda Swinton).

When she perishes in suspicious circumstances, leaving a priceless Renaissance painting entitled Boy With Apple to Gustave in her will, grief-stricken relatives plot the concierge’s downfall.